Sales Strategies for a Tough Economy
Posted on Monday, March 13, 2023 by Graham Quinn
News of rising inflation and companies cutting back on staffing suggested tough economic times were ahead long before the recession became official. However, sales teams shouldn’t allow this to demoralise them. By adopting a positive mindset and adjusting their strategy, smart sales organisations can turn an economic downturn to their favour.
Here are four simple strategies to help your sales team succeed despite the recession.
- Tighten your prospecting.
In a downturn many sales organisations try to reach as many people as possible when prospecting. However, tighter economic conditions for the company make it wiser to limit waste by becoming more focused on your ideal customer.
Ideal customer profiles help you identify who to target in the future by who has bought in the past. So, if you don’t know who your ideal customer is, start looking at the data on your best customers to identify what they have in common.
In B2B, company size and industry are often important determinants, as well as identifying when customers usually buy, in B2B this might mean looking at a customer’s budget lifecycle.
Identifying customer problems and what the customer wanted to achieve with your offering will also help targeting new prospects. Finally, look at the buyer’s journey leading up to the sale. Look for patterns emerging on how much contact was made and what types of interaction led to closing the deal.
In addition to helping you target those most likely to buy this will show the most favourable approach to closing the deal. Not only will this increase your conversion rate by making your prospecting more specific, it also reduces time and money reaching out to customers who are unlikely to buy.
- Strengthen your existing customer relationships
Although building strong customer relationships takes time and effort this should be prioritised. Most people are familiar with the saying that it costs 5x more for a company to acquire a new customer than it does to retain one. This is certainly a cost which companies will want to reduce during a recession. Despite the fact that customers are less likely to switch if they have trust and a bond with the sales person they deal with, many sales people forget to make time for after-sales support.
To acquire the customer trust necessary to build close connections requires developing an deep understanding of the individual customer’s problems. Rather than focusing solely on selling, take time to talk with customers, ask questions about their challenges and most importantly listen carefully to their responses. This will help you identify solutions which offer the customer real value rather than a quick fix. In addition, look for ways you can help not just by selling more products, such as recommending sources of advice.
- Understand how the recession is likely to affect your customers
Just as the recession will affect the way your organisation goes about its business, your customers are likely to re-evaluate their goals and budgets. It is vital that sales people learn how the downturn affects customers and industries so they can approach sales in a way that is likely to be aligned with a customers’ needs.
In addition to researching the effects on particular sectors, sales people should ask direct questions about how customers’ businesses, their budgets and buying processes may be affected. This knowledge can then be used to create pitches focused on the client’s current priorities.
- Focus your presentations.
Clients still need to make purchases during a recession. However, they also need to run their business more efficiently and avoid unnecessary costs. Sales presentations therefore need to be more focused than ever on the business value a solution will provide. Prospects and clients are much more likely to be interested in a product when framed as a way of helping them to withstand the tough economic conditions. They will be focused on results, so be ready to offer them calculations of by how much your solution could increase their profits, productivity or lower their expenses.